Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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A note from the director...

Dear Students:

This is the second newsletter of the Fall 2020 semester. As you know, classes begin on Monday. We hope you are as ready and excited as we are. If not, let us know what problems you are having and/or issues you are facing. Perhaps we can help. Scroll down for more exciting news, including:

  • A close look at some of our Fall 2020 courses!
  • A job opportunity
  • A publishing opportunity
  • Our first office hours for Fall 2020

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Exciting New Fall 2020 Classes

Our courses are filling up quickly, but there are still a few seats available in these exciting classes. Sign up now!

English 243: American Literature: Beginnings - 1900
Prof. Jennifer Ashton

Surveying essays, novels and poems from the colonial period to the turn of the 19th century, this asynchronous course looks back across a broad swath of the literary tradition of the U.S.  But instead of starting with “Beginnings" and making our way forward to 1900, as the course subtitle suggests, we start in the present and work our way backwards.

This reverse trajectory casts interesting light on the development of literary efforts to theorize the freedoms of and constraints upon individual and collective action in a variety of historical contexts, particularly as they concern questions of religious, national, political, racial and sexual identities. 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 122: Understanding Rhetoric
Instr. Sibyl Gallus-Price

Our course begins by exploring some general theories of rhetoric as both a discipline and a practice. We’ll read a variety of commentaries and canonical texts, paying particular attention to the way key terms and themes arise out of the history of rhetorical theory. Once this foundation is built, we begin to think about rhetoric’s relationship to notions of Law and Justice, and consider the law as a rhetorical system which structures our lived social experience. In this phase of the course, we highlight the ways terms and themes identified earlier are taken up in legal discourse and the pursuit of justice.

We hope to not only arrive at a better understanding of rhetoric and its relevance to our lives, but to develop transferable capacities in reading, writing, and public speaking.

Interested to learn more? Email the instructor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 105: English and American Fiction: Becoming Modern
Instr. Joseph Staten

This class seeks to understand two distinct but related historical moments: first, the emergence of the historical period known as “modernity” in the 19th century; and second, the emergence of the artistic movement known as “modernism” at the beginning of the 20th. Throughout the course, we will seek to come to an understanding of each of these terms—as well as of their extremely complex interconnectedness—through the study of some of the most ambitious and interesting English and American novels of the era. We will pay particularly close attention to the sets of issues, both social/historical and artistic, that modern novelists began to obsess over: on the side of history, topics such as capitalism, imperialism, the decline of religion, and the ascent of “materialism”; and, on the side of art, issues such as form, experimental technique, avant-gardism, and a heightened attention to the “material” of art-making itself.

Authors we read may include Herman Melville, Stephen Crane, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and/or others.

Interested to learn more? Email the instructor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 109: Tough Girls in American Literature and Culture
Prof. Terence Whalen

In recent mass culture, there has emerged a relatively new type of heroine, which for lack of a better phrase we shall call 'tough girls.'  The type seems to be everywhere in popular film and literature, from Ripley in the Alien films to Arya in Game of Thrones to Katniss in The Hunger Games.  This course will explore the meaning and significance of this phenomenon. 

Texts include works by Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Woodrell, Suzanne Collins, Ben Tripp, and Jay Kristoff.  

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 125: Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
Instr. Dan Magers

In this survey, we read, think about, and discuss a range of works by pioneering and present-day authors of U.S. Latinx Literature. Set alongside, and sometimes against, dominant American culture, U.S. Latinx Literature touches on some of the most prominent and controversial issues in contemporary life in the United States: immigration and the immigrant experience; the gains and losses of assimilating into American culture; the exploitation of labor; and identity formation based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Texts include works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Tomás Rivera, Pedro Pietri, Helena Maria Viramontes, Myriam Gurba, Erika Sánchez, Luis Alberto Urrea, and others.

The main objective of the class is to enrich your understanding of literature generally and, more importantly, to learn about the exciting and multifarious works of Latinx writers and culture.

Interested to learn more? Email the instructor. Ready to enroll? Register now.

Job Opportunity

The Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management, is seeking a student marketing assistant for 10-15 hours per week during the 2020-21 academic year. This assistant will help us develop a variety of written content for our website, social media, and print material as part of our “Growing Green for UIC” fundraising effort. They’ll also assist in the execution of a crowdfunding campaign in mid-February. Interested students should apply for this role on Handshake; the job number is #3925372 (Student Marketing Assistant). 

Publishing Opportunity
Save the Date!

The Office of Undergraduate Studies is hosting the following events:

  • Grad School Workshop:  Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Learn from alums and admissions committee members what it takes to take the next step in your education.

  • Open Mic Night: Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Month Day 2020 at 4:00 pm

Share your work with your peers. 

  • Independent Study/Senior Thesis Presentations: Friday, December 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps you're interested in what your fellow English majors' work. Perhaps you're considering taking an independent study. Join us as this semester's ENGL 398/399 students present their work.

Watch upcoming newsletters for more information on these events.

Would you like to see the Office of Undergraduate Studies host a specific event? If so, let us know. It is our mission to provide programming that meets the needs of our students.

Office of Undergraduate Studies Fall 2020 Drop-in Hours

Have a question? Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Studies Drop-in Hours and ask us! While we are terrible at chemistry, we would be delighted to advise on classes, help plan for an independent study or chat about what we are binge watching and what we'll do once COVID-19 is gone.

The Office is open:

Monday 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 pm

Join us this Monday 24 August 2020 at 12:00 pm: 

Katherine Boulay is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Office of Undergraduate Studies Office Hour

Time: Aug 24, 2020 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)      

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 923 3048 9229
Passcode: 2fye.gB8

If these hours don't suit, just email english@uic.edu to make an appointment.